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Belfast Trust 'working hard' to allow Billy Caldwell to take medication at home next week

By Jonathan Bell

Arrangements are being put in place to allow Billy Caldwell - the 12-year-old boy with severe epilepsy - to be able to take his medication at home from early next week, the Belfast Health Trust has said.

Castlederg boy Billy Caldwell returned home to Northern Ireland on Thursday evening after spending three weeks in London.

The Home Office gave Billy, who has a rare form of epilepsy, a short-term licence to allow him access to cannabis oil, which his mother Charlotte says helps to control his seizures.

Uncertainty over the medication in Northern Ireland had placed a question mark over his return earlier this week.

It was confirmed on Thursday that the Belfast Health Trust had secured a licence for medicinal cannabis and could administer the medication to Billy at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

However, his mother Charlotte vented her frustration they could not take the medication home and therefore faced a four-hour roundtrip to Belfast to receive the drugs twice a day.

The Department of Health said that the situation in Belfast was replicated on the arrangements in London.

On Friday a spokesman for Billy’s family said he had been taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast at 8.50am after suffering a seizure.

His family believe the seizure is due to stress and tiredness following the recent travel.

On Friday evening the Belfast Trust confirmed the family would be allowed to administer the drugs at home.

In a statement it said: "Billy’s welfare is our priority and the trust is working very hard with the Department of Health to put in place the necessary arrangements for Billy to receive his medication at home from early next week.

"This is a very complex and sensitive matter and a number of issues still have to be finalised. We have this afternoon met with Charlotte Caldwell and have advised her of the situation."

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